OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Just one week ahead of the medical marijuana dispensary opening in West Monroe, the licensed medical marijuana physician assigned to Ouachita Parish has been arrested.
Dr. Benjamin Stage was arrested by Louisiana State Police Tuesday and charged with five counts of illegally prescribing controlled dangerous substances to a patient that was not his.
Although Stage was arrested, patients in need across Ouachita Parish and the rest of Northeast Louisiana can still get their recommendations.
"We have a number of physicians that are already serving patients in the Monroe and West Monroe area," said Kathryn Thomas, Clinical Director and Managing Partner for The Healing Clinics LLC.
Physicians are granted their therapeutic marijuana registration permit through the state board of medical examiners.
Even though Stage was assigned to Ouachita Parish, licensed doctors from Shreveport have already been operating in Monroe to provide recommendations and consultations to patients.
"We can come to them and see them in Monroe or they can come to Shreveport and then we will fax that recommendation to the dispensary," said Thomas.
Doctors can get their permit in one city but are able to do recommendations and consultations in another.
"There are roughly 120 doctors that have obtained a special permit that allows them to do this consultation and recommendation," said Dr. Victor Chou, from the Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana.
Patients who qualify are able to purchase their product from their nearest dispensary.
"Rest assured it is our desire to take care of these patients that have been waiting so long to get this much-needed medication," said Thomas.
Delta Medmar opens next week in West Monroe. Patients who qualify can have their recommendation faxed to the dispensary and get their product in person.